2011RidgeCS2011 Ridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
One of the vintage’s best secrets and surprises the Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Monte Bello Vineyard is a truly glorious and elegant wine, made from a classic Bordeaux blend, 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and weighs in at 13% alcohol. This new release from Ridge is from what can be considered a difficult if not bad year for most of California, but as per normal here at Ridge it made one of the best wines of the vintage in this trying growing period, there is just something special about Monte Bello and against all odds and common sense, we end up with a remarkable wine to cherish. The 2011 has a Pauillac meets Margaux feel, there is the firmness and black fruit that almost remind you of Pontet-Canet and the lush polish of Margaux, but cliches are not completely honest in this pure California red, it shows density, finesse and rich detail plus open fruit drinkability that Bordeaux doesn’t usually give and that California is famous for. The nose is complex with dark fruit, crushed stone, violet/acacia flowers and loamy earth with hints of toast/smoky char and graphite leading to a medium bodied palate of blackberry, dark currants, cherry and plum fruits with touches of licorice, sage, vanilla and savory elements along with cigar wrapper and bitter chocolate and a lingering finish of creme de cassis. This Cabernet certainly stands out in it’s price class and for the vintage, it has everything you’d expect from Ridge and is finely crafted and shows freshness throughout with soft tannins and juicy acidity, the Merlot adds some plump, while the other grapes add interest, look for this suburb Cabernet to fill out a bit more in bottle over the next year or so, but drink young, best from 2015 to 2020. I can’t wait to see how good the legendary Monte Bello is, especially as this is so good, I love just about everything coming out of Ridge these days and 2012 looks to be a blockbuster year, the future is looking great for one of California’s most prized wineries, bravo.
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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